A man driving a car whilst looking at his phone in his hand.

With technological advancements increasing, distracted driving accidents are a mounting concern. Smartphones, in-car entertainment systems, and navigation devices divert attention from the road. Social media, texting, and streaming further multiply the issue by enticing drivers to look at their devices while behind the wheel. However, cognitive overload impairs reaction times and decision-making, escalating accident risks.

Additionally, the introduction of “self-driving” cars adds another layer of concern about lulling drivers into a false sense of chauffeur security. While autonomous features of self-driving cars offer convenience, reliance on these systems may lead drivers to become complacent and adopt reduced vigilance on the road — they may become distracted or disengaged, assuming the vehicle will handle all aspects of driving.

Defining Distracted Driving

Distracted driving involves any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from safely operating a vehicle. Such interferences can include visual distractions like looking away from the road, manual distractions where hands are taken off the wheel, and cognitive distractions such as daydreaming.

Causes of Distracted Driving

Modern-day accessories contribute significantly to distracted driving. Some of the most common causes of distracted driving include:

  • Cell phone use: Whether for texting, calling, or browsing, using smartphones while driving is a leading cause of driving accidents. The allure to stay up-to-date and connected with the digital world can tempt drivers to engage with their phones despite the significant risks involved. Specifically, texting while driving has been identified as one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
  • Inattention to the road: Daydreaming or becoming lost in thought can also impair a driver’s ability to focus on the road ahead. Inattentiveness to traffic signals, signs, or hazards can result in delayed reactions and increased accident risk. Even momentary lapses in attention can have serious consequences, especially at high speeds or in congested traffic conditions. The emergence of self-driving cars may exacerbate this issue, as drivers may overly rely on autonomous features.
  • External distractions: Eating or drinking while driving, adjusting the radio or GPS, or reaching for objects within the vehicle can divert a driver’s attention away from the road. These external distractions may seem harmless, but they can significantly impair driving performance and increase the likelihood of accidents.
  • Passenger-related distractions: Conversations with passengers, particularly those requiring visual or cognitive engagement, can distract drivers. Interactions with children or pets in the vehicle can also demand attention and compromise the driver’s ability to focus on the road.
  • Multitasking: Attempting to perform non-driving tasks while operating a vehicle, such as grooming, reading, or watching videos, can severely impair a driver’s ability to react to changing road conditions. Attempting to multitask while driving is a good example of the Dunning-Kruger effect, where individuals overestimate their ability to multitask effectively, further exacerbating this danger. Divided attention compromises reaction times and decision-making, increasing the risk of accidents.

Impact of Distracted Driving on Accident Risk

Distracted driving significantly increases the likelihood of accidents and worsens their severity. Decreased reaction times, impaired decision-making, and reduced awareness of surroundings contribute to a higher incidence of rear-end collisions, lane departures, and other accidents. Not to mention, the consequences of distracted driving can be devastating, resulting in injuries, fatalities, and property damage.

If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident in New York City, seeking legal representation is crucial to protecting your rights and pursuing compensation for your losses. An experienced lawyer with a dedicated personal injury law practice can professionally address all matters related to your case, including gathering evidence to establish liability and advocating on your behalf before the court if necessary.

Explore your legal options with an experienced New York car accident attorney, and contact Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP at (212) 986-7353 for a free consultation.

Posted in: Distracted Driving